Women & Gender Studies Institute

Michelle Murphy

Ph.D. (Harvard University, History of Science)

phone : 416-978-8964

office : 2039

email : michelle.murphy@utoronto.ca

Michelle Murphy is a feminist technoscience studies scholar and historian of the recent past who theorizes and researches about the politics of technoscience; decolonial approaches to environmental justice; sexed,raced, and queer life; reproductive justice; infrastructures; and critiques of racial capitalism and particularly in contemporary, settler colonial, cold war, and postcolonial conjunctures associated with Canada and United States.  She is co-organizer of Technoscience Salon and Director of the Technoscience Research Unit, which is a lab and home for social justice and decolonial approaches to Science and Technology Studies. She is urban Métis from Winnipeg.

She supervises graduate students interested in technoscience and media studies; Indigenous feminisms and decolonial throught and praxis; intersectional, transnational, and decolonial feminist, queer, and trans theory; reproductive politics; critical studies of capitalism and infrastructures; environmental justice and Land/body relations.
For a more details please visit her homepage: technopolitics.wordpress.com

Great Lake health, settler colonial refineries, office cubicles, errant molecules, chemical violence,  manual suction abortion kits, protocols, pap smears, drosophila in bottles, vibrio cholerae, GDP,  girls as human capital, population projections, queer fish, PCBs, sick buildings, anticipation, atmospheric pollution, endocrine disrupting chemicals, phantasmagrams, chemical infrastructures, …

These are some of the technologies and phenomena I grapple with as a historian of the recent past and technoscience studies scholar.  My work focuses on technoscience as it relates to environmental and reproductive justice, data politics, chemical exposures, infrastructures, Indigenous science and technology studies, race, and colonialism.

I am a Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, Director of the Technoscience Research Unit, and co-organizer, with Natasha Myers, of the Toronto Technoscience Salon.

I have additional graduate appointments in the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, the  School of Environment, and the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at U of T, and in Science and Technology Studies and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.   I have a  PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University (1998), and a Bachelors degree in Biology and History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto (1992).

My most recent book is The Economization of Life (2017, Duke UP).  I am also the author of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Feminism, Technoscience, and Biopolitical Topographies of Cold War America (2012, Duke UP) and Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers( 2006, Duke UP), which won the Ludwik Fleck Prize (2008) from the Society for Social Studies of Science.

My current research is on decolonial approaches to the study of environmental violence, with a focus on the lower Great Lakes, which includes a project titled Alterlife in the Aftermath, and a collaborative Indigenous-led research project called Visualizng Colonial Violence: Imperial Oil.


The Economization of Life (Duke University of Press 2017)

Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Feminism, Technoscience, and a Biopolitical Topography of Cold War America (Duke University Press, 2012).

Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers  (Duke University Press, 2006).  Winner of the Fleck Prize for best book in the field of Science and Technology Studies.

For more details about Michelle Murphy’s research, see her website

Undergraduate Courses

  • WGS 440H Postcolonial Cyborgs for Planetary Futures (2014)
  • WGS 273Y Environmental (In)Justice (20012, 20013)
  • WGS 262Y, Texts, Theories, Histories (2005-6, 2006-7)
  • HIS496S, Sex, Money and American Empire (2007)
  • HIS 202F, Gender, Race and Science (2004, 2005)
  • NEW 362S, Feminisms, Reproduction, Nation (2005)


Graduate Courses

  • WGS1000S Text, Theories, History (2009, 2014)
  • HIS1007H Theories, Histories, Imaginaries: Themes in Technoscience (2013)
  • HIS1004S Biopolitics and History (2007, 2009, 2011)
  • HIS1016F Readings in the History of Gender and Sexuality (2004, 2005)

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